Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tips For Being a Trans Ally

I can't describe how important having supportive friends are during this process and even after you have been out and living full time for years. Please give this post a read and share this post and any information you can. I'd love to hear about your tips and things you do in the comments section below!

1. Don't out anyone... period
This needs no further information but remember outing not only shows a lack of trust but can affect a persons employment, relationships, family,... the list goes on and on. The general rule is, if the person says it is ok to talk about their transition with others that is one thing, if not then don't.

2. Don't ask what someone's old name was or worse what their "real" name is
Just don't... If a trans person want to volunteer this info let them do so on their own. They are who they are right now. Similarly, avoid asking to see pictures or asking any details about who they were before they transitioned. This also goes for someones genitals. Personally if you are concerned with what I have between my legs be either be on a date that is going well or you are my doctor. Everyone else can bugger off.

3. Don't assume you know a persons sexual identity based on the gender identity
This is one I get a lot actually. people assume a lot that I like men when in fact I identify more as a lesbian. Gender and sexuality are very different!

4. If you do not know someone's gender identity listen to them, ask. 
I am trans, I make mistakes in this regard as well. It is not always cut and dry what pronouns to use when talking. I find the best approach is to listen to them for a bit using their name. If I cannot figure it out through context I ask.

5. Listen and be a friend
Understand that coming out is hard and stressful. It is not an easy thing to do and not the same as coming out as gay, lesbian or bi. Also many trans people experiment with their identity, I know I do. Be patient with them and most important be supportive. Remember there is no right way to transition or present a gender (or no gender). Not ever trans woman is femme and not every trans man is masculine. I for one fluctuate between full on female femme to androgynous even into gender queer maleness.

One other bit of advice that falls under this headline is to avoid giving tips that sound like compliments. Statements like "You look like a real girl" or "I'd never had known", etc. sound supportive but can be taken very badly. Instead tell the person simply that they look nice. Also comments like "When you were..." can be awkward at best. Other phrases that can get tricky include phrases that start with "biological...", and "genetic...". The gist is try to avoid questions and comments that can be construed as invalidating.

6. Help your friends feel included and support their fight for inclusion in public spaces
Even things as trivial as using  public restrooms can be dangerous sometimes for trans people. The best way you can help in this regard is to support our fight for inclusive spaces and non-discrimination laws.

7. Words like "tranny," "shemale," "he-she,", etc...
Just don't use them...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Help Dealing With Depression

Get Help Now!

If you're thinking about suicide, you deserve immediate help—please call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386

Many people go through periods of depression at some point and for trans people I think it is safe to say "most" of us can say we have. There are all kinds or articles about how depression and suicide is disproportionately higher among LGBT people and especially among trans people. That isn't what I want to share here though. Mainly I want to post a short article where I can share a few links links below to offer some resources to help deal with depression and also how to help your friends and family who may be going through it as well.
One additional tip I would suggest, especially to help with the feelings that you are alone or that no one understands is joining a local support group. It gave me a safe place to talk to people who understood what I was going through and helped me see that I really was not alone.

Lastly, please remember depression can be serious and you do not need to go through things alone. Talk to your friends and family or a therapist. It really does help. Also, the chance that you will give a non-suicidal person the idea to suddenly kill them self is virtually zero so if you are concerned that someone you know is suicidal, ask. You may save a life!

Another great resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

1 (800) 273-8255
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a weekLanguages: English, Spanish
Website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Gender (and Sex) Appropriate Medical Treatment

This is a topic that runs through my mind from time to to so I think I might mention it here. As trans men and women we strive to be accepted as who we are on the inside. I know for me it was a great feeling to get my drivers licence changed. It was like finally! I have an F in sex!!! Many of us also attempt to live in some level of stealth, or at least divulge person information in a very strict as needed basis. I hope I can make a case here that there at least one venue where it may not be in your best interest to hide personal history.

While most of the time people either can tell of just think I am a butch woman I enjoy living my day to day life as a woman. Despite having had surgery and jumping through the legal hoops and having been on hormones for years there is still one reality. I am an XY woman. My body has developed and gone through puberty as a male... My broad shoulders and male patter baldness are a testament to that... But so are my larger heart and lungs, smaller kidneys, the fact that I have male sex organs (even a prostate post surgery) and more red blood cells. Many of these things place me square in the risk factor for male related disease and some protect me from disease that typically effect females. Also, as they point out in this article even effective medication dosages can vary between men and women, and for a number of reasons: size, chemical composition of blood, organ size... etc. So what this means is just because you transition and even have surgery you still need to not neglect the reality of your circumstances. I get a prostate exam when it is appropriate!

In addition to all of this men and women both have risk factors for certain condition that can be genetic. For instance, if you are a trans man and both your mother and sister have had breast cancer I don't think I need to tell you that you have a VERY high risk. Conversely, if you are a trans woman in the same situation (mom and sister with breast cancer) hormones may be a very dangerous path for you to take. The same things apply to any number of diseases. Women are typically at risk for auto immune disease, men are more at risk for some neurological diseases.

Does these risks tie into hormones or surgery? Maybe, maybe not. When you transition do you open yourself up to the health risks associated with the sex you are transitioning to? Maybe??? In the end only a doctor can answer your specific questions as to what your transition means for you and your over health. I for one am certainly not gonna risk my life over hiding a secrete that could potentially risk my life or put me at risk for unneeded medical care or even exclude me from very necessary screenings. I tell every doctor who examines me that I am a post op trans woman....